How to Verify Information With Style

Phone Tip: How to Verify Information

Verifying a caller’s name and contact information can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to sound friendly and familiar. We suggest skipping verification when possible, but when 100% accuracy is a must, here are some tips for gathering info gracefully:

Take a guess. Are you familiar with the caller’s name? Take a crack at spelling it.

Is that Smith, S-M-I-T-H?

Even if you’re off by a few letters, you’ll offer a jumping-off point.

It’s spelled with a Y, actually: S-M-Y-T-H.

If you’re unfamiliar with the caller’s name and not comfortable taking a guess, start with a polite question like, “Would you mind spelling that for me?” Then, spell the name back to the caller for confirmation. Lots of letters sound alike, so when confirming spelling, use a spelling alphabet to clarify:

Is that “T” as in “Terrific”?

Use caller ID. If the caller’s name matches the name shown on caller ID, try prompting the caller with the spelling shown there. Caller ID isn’t always correct, so don’t use it as a replacement for verification, but it can be a great tool for verifying spelling.

Refer to past messages. If the person called earlier and you’re able to look up their message, you have an opportunity to confirm information easily and make a great impression:

Hi Susan! I see that you called yesterday. Is 503-445-6900 still the best number to reach you?

Handling hesitation. When a caller hesitates, try politely explaining your reason for verifying information:

May I jot down your number, just so she has it handy?

Would you mind if I take down your name and number for quick reference?

Joe will be referencing your account in our custom software, so I want to make sure I’ve spelled your name correctly. That way, he’ll be able to easily find your account and get you the quickest reply!

I’ve been asked to verify spelling before transferring calls, and I’d hate to pass along your information incorrectly. Would you mind spelling your last name for me?

Do you have any info-collecting tips? Tweet them to us at @callruby!

Photo via Flickr user Neil Turner

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